By LOU PONSI |
PUBLISHED: September 14, 2019 at 5:28 pm | UPDATED: September 14, 2019 at 5:42 pm
LAGUNA HILLS — Capistrano Valley senior Carly Corsinita didn’t want any surprises going into the Laguna Hills Invitational on Saturday at Laguna Hills High School.
Corsinita walked the 3-mile course several days before the actual meet, taking mental notes to help plan her race strategy.
The extra preparation paid off.
Corsinita took the lead early and went on to win the girls Division 2 Senior race in 18 minutes, 59.4 seconds, which was 22 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Katie Farr of Foothill.
Capistrano Valley runner Carly Corsinita won the girls Division 2 Senior race at the Laguna Hills Invitational on Saturday. She finished in 18:59.4. (Photo by Lou Ponsi)
“I know this course is not one to mess around with,” said Corsinita, who finished second at the invitational last year. “The hills, the terrain, the fact that the hill is not an asphalt hill. It’s definitely rocky. There are plenty of variables there.”
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One variable was the temperature, which was well above 90 degrees for the junior and senior races that took place later in the morning, keeping times a bit slower than usual.
“It’s a good, fair race course,” St. Margaret’s coach Pat Ben Bendzick said. “You go to places like Woodbridge and Cool Breeze (invitationals) and they’re just artificially fast. So the kids need a little bit of a reality check . . . It’s a little bit of precursor to Mt. SAC and Clovis for us.”
The Tartans are the defending CIF SS Division 5 champions and Division 5 state champions, but they have lost some of their top runners to graduation. Two top-tier runners, Jackson Adelman and Calvin Capelle, are back, and they finished first and second, respectively, in the boys Division 3 Junior race.
St. Margaret’s Kat Collier and Madye Arundale took second and third, respectively, in the Division 3 Junior girls race.
“When we split up into age groups, we don’t have a ton of depth,” Bendzick said. “But our kids are winning their division races, and when you piece it all together, that varsity seven looked pretty strong for us today.”
Santa Ana had a pair of first-place finishers with Brandon Palacios winning the boys Division 1 Junior race and Maria Hernandez capturing the girls Division 1 Senior race.
“It was challenging,” said Palacios, who won at Laguna Hills for the second year in a row. “I wasn’t as prepared as last year. I just had to focus on the team. It wasn’t about me anymore.”
An injury prevented Aliso Niguel’s Emily Richards from finishing her race at Laguna Hills in 2018, but Richards won the girls Division 1 Junior race Saturday in 18:43.5.
“I just wanted to get out fast and hold my position, and if anyone came up, I was just going to try and kick in and stay in the front and keep pushing,” said Richards, who also won at Laguna Hills as a freshman. “I take a lot better care of my body … icing and rolling and watching my mileage. I’m really looking forward to having a great season.”
Other county winners included Pacifica’s Shea Smith (boys Division 3 Senior race), Capistrano Valley’s Thomas Mordy (boys Division 2 Junior race) and Audrey Landis of Northwood (girls Division 2 Junior race).